Published on Nov 18, 2016, modified on May 21, 2019 by Dr. Solomon (Podiatrist), Manhattan Foot Specialists

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Specialist NYC

The tarsal tunnel is similar to the carpal tunnel of your wrist but instead it is in the foot. And just as you can have carpal tunnel syndrome you can have tarsal tunnel syndrome. The tarsal tunnel is formed by our heel bone and overlying fascia and the major nerves, arteries and tendons pass through this canal when passing from our leg to our foot.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by the tibial nerve getting compressed in this tunnel causing pain to shoot either into the foot or upward into our leg. This syndrome can also cause heel pain and is often mistaken for plantar fasciitis.

Certain foot types have a higher likelihood of developing this condition but anyone can suffer this syndrome. Great conservative and surgical treatments are available so make an appointment with a leading Midtown podiatrists today!

All symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any underlying serious condition.

Main Causes of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

While the condition is generally limited to active adults, podiatrists have discovered that tarsal tunnel syndrome can occur in children as well. Anything that increases pressure on the posterior tibial nerve can be a cause of tarsal tunnel syndrome. For example:

  • If you have flat feet, you’re at increased risk for developing tarsal tunnel syndrome, since the absence of a healthy arch in your foot causes your heel to tilt in a way that can induce strain and compress the tibial nerve.
  • Ankle deformities resulting from previous injuries are common causes. Scar tissue can develop and inhibit the movement within the tarsal tunnel, compressing the nerves.
  • Tenosynovitis, which refers to the inflammation of a tendon caused by repetitive movements, can also be a culprit.
  • Something abnormally large within the space of the tunnel can also cause nerve compression. So, for instance, arthritic bone spurs, exostosis, neoplasms, ganglion cysts, lipoma, swollen tendons, or varicose veins are all examples of this phenomenon.
  • Nerve compression can also result from injuries such as ankle sprains, which can produce swelling and inflammation in or around the tunnel.
  • Diabetes and osteoarthritis are examples of persistent diseases responsible for swelling that can lead to nerve compression.

Symptoms of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

According to the top podiatry doctors, people who suffer from tarsal tunnel syndrome tend to report the following sensations most frequently:

  • Shooting pain
  • Numbness
  • Burning or tingling sensations resembling an electric current
  • Pain that radiates from the sole of your foot
  • Increased pain when your ankle is flexed upward
  • The condition gets worse at night

As observed by midtown NYC podiatrists, these symptoms are generally experienced either on the inside section of your ankle or on the bottom of your foot. In some circumstances, you may feel the pain on both your ankle and the bottom of your foot. In other cases, the pain can reach your heel, toes, arch, or even up your calf.

The symptoms may appear suddenly. Excessive pressure on your foot — which occurs in exercise, protracted standing, walking, or some new activity — can aggravate the condition and cause the symptoms to appear without warning. In reality, tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition that builds up slowly, even if it shows its symptoms suddenly.

All symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any underlying serious condition.

Get Help

If any of these symptoms appear, it’s imperative that you contact a good podiatry doctor or NYC podiatrist to receive early treatment. Untreated, tarsal tunnel syndrome can deteriorate to the point where you suffer permanent nerve pain and damage,

Moreover, the symptoms are often confused for other foot problems. A professional evaluation with a podiatrist in NYC becomes vital. An experienced podiatry doctor can make a proper assessment, a correct diagnosis, and an appropriate treatment plan. So, don’t suffer; get the relief you deserve now.

Diagnosis through Exams

The correct diagnosis by an experienced midtown Manhattan podiatrist is a necessary precursor to effective treatment.

Such a diagnosis by a podiatrist includes:

  • A complete clinical exam
  • Comprehensive medical history
  • Electrical tests such as a nerve conduction study or EMG
  • Imaging tests such as x-rays, MRIs or CT scans

During the clinical exam, a podiatry doctor has to examine the reactions of your foot to determine how much feeling remains. Your podiatrist in midtown NYC may suspend your foot in the air and test the nerves to determine if your symptoms can be replicated in an office environment. A good podiatry doctor also examines for masses or bone spurs that could be the cause of the compression of the nerve.

Throughout the course of the exam, the foot doctor looks for Tinel’s sign, characterized by pain radiating from the tarsal tunnel area after the nerve is tapped. Tinel’s sign is one way to detect nerve irritation. The podiatrist should be able to produce this if nerve compression is present. A podiatry doctor uses images produced by the X-rays, MRIs or CT scans to find the structural mass that represents tarsal tunnel syndrome. Your podiatrist in New York City may then decide to evaluate the accompanying nerve problems with electromyography or nerve conduction velocity prior to recommending physical therapy or other treatment.

Most Common Treatments

A myriad of non-surgical options are available to treat your tarsal tunnel syndrome. These treatments can be used in concert to relieve the pain and suffering caused by the condition. Treatments include:

  • Rest: Relieving the wear and tear on your feet prevents a worsening condition and promotes healing.
  • Ice: Reducing swelling through cold packs or ice compresses relieves pressure and encourages healing.
  • Immobilization: Restricting movement can encourage the tissues to heal.
  • Good-fitting shoes: Following your midtown podiatrist’s recommendation for a more supportive shoe always helps.
  • Orthotic devicesWearing custom or over-the-counter shoe inserts support your arch and restrict the motion causing the nerve compression.
  • Braces: Preventing flat feet by wearing braces to relieve pressure also prevents severe nerve damage.
  • Physical therapy: Learning exercises and undergoing ultrasound therapy are common treatments to prevent or recover from tarsal tunnel syndrome.
  • Injection therapy: Injecting a local anesthetic into the area can relieve your pain, and corticosteroids are helpful in curing the inflammation.
  • Laser therapy

If these treatments are ineffective, your NYC podiatrist may be forced to use surgery as a last resort. If a podiatry doctor concludes that surgery is a viable option for you given your condition, opening up the tarsal tunnel to decompress the nerves is the goal. Surgery is recommended only if your pain and mobility issues aren’t resolved by the other treatments.

Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult your foot doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified podiatrist or foot specialist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Do you have any questions about Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome treatment in NYC? Would you like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized, best in class podiatrist and foot doctor, Dr. Sophia Solomon of NYC podiatry?  Please contact our office for a consultation.

Manhattan Foot Specialists
Dr. Sophia Solomon, Podiatrist (NYC Foot Doctor)

51 East 25th Street, Ste 409
New York, NY 10010

(Between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
(212) 389-9918

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a best in class podiatrist regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a foot doctor or call our office today and schedule a consultation with the leading foot surgeon Dr. Sophia Solomon.